TFM Fashion

Chic for Cheap: 10 Ways to Save Money on Clothes

Many people, when faced with the decision to spend the last of their money on food or on clothing, would somehow justify going hungry for a cute new sweater. I get it – how we dress is a reflection of ourselves, and shopping for clothes is an activity many of us use to feel better about getting dumped or dealing with deep-rooted daddy issues. Unfortunately, bad spending habits on things that we don’t need (another pair of skinny jeans?) can lead to money stress down the line, and studies prove that we actually gain less and less satisfaction and happiness with every new thing we buy. So what’s the answer? Follow these 10 ways to save money on clothes and you can still walk away looking fabulous.

1. Don’t buy for your skinnier self: Buying clothes a size or two too small for when you do that amazing cleanse and lose ten pounds is a gamble that you’re unfortunately likely to lose. Even if you do lose the weight, you don’t even know how the clothes are going to fit your new body – so save your money and buy things that look great on the ass that you currently have.

2. Rent or borrow what you’ll only wear once: If you have a black tie affair or other occasion that requires a show-stopper dress that you will only wear once, I would strongly suggest borrowing it from a friend with great taste. Once you’re photographed to death in it, and it’s all over facebook – let’s be honest, you can never wear it again anyway. If your friends prove to be useless, sites like Renttherunway can come in handy for a dress rental.

3. Fall in love with discount stores: If you do not shop regularly at places like TJ Maxx and Loehman’s, then you are missing out. I personally buy alot of my underwear and basics at these spots, because they carry amazing brand names at a fraction of the retail price. I got my Valentino pumps for $200 at Loehmanns in NYC, and earlier this year I got my tumi carry on luggage for $99 at TJ Maxx. They really do make discount dreams come true. If you would rather stay on your comfy couch, discount stores like Ultimate Outlet  also offer discounts on brands like Spiegel (and their amazing Shape FX line) as well as a warehouse section where you can find things as low as $5.

4. Avoid trend pieces: Ahh harem pants. Who doesn’t want to look like they are wearing depends, or entering an MC Hammer lookalike competition? Spending money on trend pieces that will likely no longer be worn in another three months is a big mistake. If I really love a trend I’ll pick it up at H&M or Forever 21 – but I stick to buying classic pieces that will never go out of style.

5. Have a clothing swap party: At the beginning or end of every season, gather all of the clothes that you’re over or never wear and bring them to a clothes swap gathering with your friends. You’ll likely find some new great clothes that a friend just doesn’t look great in (but you do) – and you get to clean out your closet at the same time.

6. Save on workout clothes: I can’t deny that I own a few pairs of Lululemon pants. Those things do wonders for your ass, last forever, and are worth the money. All of the other stuff that end up with sweat stains I buy from TJ Maxx, Old Navy and Target.

7. Don’t buy something just because it’s on sale: We’ve all made this mistake before. We buy something that we kinda sorta like just because it’s marked way down, so we feel like we’re getting a great deal but then we never wear it. If you wouldn’t want to buy it at full price, then you shouldn’t want it because it’s on sale.

8. Alter old clothes: Before you donate any of your old clothes, you should make sure that you can’t alter them into something you would wear more often first. Maybe a long sleeve shirt would be much cuter with the sleeves cut off as a tank – or maybe you can turn a pair of flared jeans into sexy cut-off shorts. It’s always worth a shot if you were going to toss them anyway.

9. Take proper care of your clothes: avoid buying things that are dry clean only – and if they are, make sure you dry clean them! Otherwise, make sure to follow the cleaning instructions to make your clothes last longer. A super handy article on proper clothing care: Caring for your clothes: Give your closet some love.

10. Shop thrift stores: Be warned – thrift store is not the same as vintage store. Vintage stores try to scam you into spending big money on trendy pieces, but remember that it is still used clothing you’re buying here. Thrift stores actually offer a place to find some cool second hand t-shirts or dresses at a great price. For more guidance check out: How to vintage shop like a frugal fashionista.

Hopefully these tips help you save money on clothes and more importantly prevent you from buying another pair of jeans that give you an unappealing muffin top and/or eating disorder.




  1. Love this blog, I spend soooo much money on clothes I barely wear and all because shopping makes me feel better! Thanks for this, it’s great advice.

  2. You have amazing tips that i think can really change a young girls life. So excited I saw you on t.v this morning! Cant wait to be a regular follower.:)

  3. I saw your interview online with ABC News about your “The Finances of a Model in New York City-Revealed!” from Huffington Post… Let’s just say, I’m so glad I did! Your site has some great info, in easy-access format so I don’t have to wade through a bunch of ads & useless “filler” info to get your true info, advice & opinions. LOVE! Keep it up girl!

  4. I recently started shopping at thrift stores quite a bit. At first, I got overwhelmed and couldn’t find anything because there is so much to go through. It is really hard. Now, I go with a specific thing in mind. Like the other day. I only looked for work pants. I hate paying department store prices for work pants, they are so expensive, and cheap ones just never fit right. I went to a couple of local Goodwill stores and went straight to their women’s pant rack. I know my size in the brands I like, so I only pulled brands that I new like Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Gap, Talbots, etc. I scored 3 pairs at one and 4 pairs at the other. In all I got 7 pairs of pants for $50.00….AWESOME!

  5. Another tip:
    When shopping thrift stores, it’s TOTALLY worth the travel time to go to a different neighborhood. If you’re looking for something ethnic inspired, get to the part of town that’s know for that ethnicity. If you’re looking for higher end brands and better quality merch, get to the thrift stores in the upper bracket districts. (Insider info – when people donate their clothes to a thrift store, they do it locally. And those local thrift stores almost never send their merch to another store.)

    • This is an amazing tip. I absolutely agree – In NYC everything is completely picked through, but if you go to some nice neighborhoods in upstate NY you find the most amazing designer stuff. Thank you for sharing!

  6. I really love your blog! I just found it and now I will visit it often! I have a shopping addiction, so these tips are really helpful for me :)

  7. This is really cool stuff! I have a question though, what do you recommend for college students? I’m in college, there are NO thrift stores anywhere near where I live at, and I have NO money for clothes. I like to look cute, but I generally end up wearing a t-shirt with a scarf thrown over it or something to that extent. Everything I have in my closet is something I spent less than $20 on, including jeans, and shoes. JC Penney is my favorite store, but that is really far away and hard to get to by the bus, which is my only transportation. HELP!

    • Hey Naomi – you should order things online!! Sites like have really cute stuff for cheap, and you can check ebay for sales or lightly used things you really love. Even in NYC where we have all the great stores, I love shopping online for good deals and one of a kind pieces. Hope that helps!

  8. Hi there!

    What are some classic wardrobe pieces you recommend every woman have in her closet that will never go out of style?

    • Hey Sarah – Check out my post on the luxury pieces you should invest in! I would say a black blazer, a good coat, a great pair of pumps and good quality t-shirts!

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